Italian Tomato Sauce

This is my version of marinara, an Italian tomato sauce recipe which I have been making for years. It works equally well with pasta, lasagna, eggplant parmigiana, and pizza recipes. Marinara sauce
Yield 4-5 c sauce
Time 30 minutes
  • large, heavy saucepan with lid
  • wooden spoon
  • ¼ c olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, preferably white, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz can diced tomatoes or tomato sauce
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 1-2 T sugar (optional)*
  • ¼ c oregano
  • 1 T black pepper
  • 1 T fresh or 1 t dried rosemary, sage, thyme, or other herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
Directions Heat the olive oil over medium heat and sauté the onion for about 5 minutes. When it starts becoming translucent, add the garlic and sauté another 5 minutes.

Increase heat to high and add the tomatoes/tomato sauce and tomato paste. Stir well to incorporate the paste.

Add the optional sugar, then bring to a boil. Lower heat, add the pepper and herbs, cover, and let simmer for at least 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If you have time, let it simmer for an hour or more – the sauce will just keep getting better.

Note: be very careful when you lift the lid – boiling sauce may splash your hands.

Taste and adjust seasonings. If the sauce is too thick, you can add some water.

Discard the bay leaf and serve.

Notes *Sugar can be a bit tricky. I find that canned tomatoes are often a bit sour, so I try to add just enough sugar to counteract the sourness without actually making the sauce sweet. This can be difficult because the sugar gets stronger as the sauce cooks. When in doubt, start with just a t of sugar, cook for a while, taste, and add a bit more if needed.

The longer you cook this sauce, the thicker, richer, and (if using sugar) sweeter it will be.

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  Italian tomato sauce